Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Apologia Educational Ministries: Flourish {A Review}

Apologia Educational Ministries sent me Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms ($15.00) to review. It is for anyone (even if you are not homeschooing) that is balancing the responsibilities of a home (with or without a home business). 

Flourish offers practical advice for how to juggle the workings of your home. There are strategies for changing your thinking, focusing, reflecting, educating (yourself), eliminating time wasters, disciplining (yourself), organizing, multitasking, setting goals, management of your home and day, training (your children), homeschooling, keeping a home business, homeschooling as a single parent, and evaluating the entire process.

Tate shares many stories from her own experiences with her own family. In particular, I love the story of when their family cat caught on fire. I read it out loud to Poppa who also got a laugh out of it. She also shares lots of quotes throughout the book. I made a list of some of them to share on my Bits of Wisdom page and others to share with a friend who is constantly overwhelmed with everything she has to do.

As a bonus...There are worksheets to help and downloadable customizable versions of the items found in Appendix B included with the purchase:
  •  Pre-Book Self-Evaluation
  • Time Log, Sunday to Wednesday
  • Time Log, Thursday to Saturday
  • Big Dream
  • Yearly Review
  • Yearly Goals
  • Monthly Calendar
  • Weekly Plan
  • Post-Book Progress Check
As a confession, I am the one that everyone says, "I don't know how she does it all!" about. Birthday parties, get togethers, homeschooling, teaching classes, house cleaning, you name it. I've heard it over and over. Sooo....

Many of the suggestions provided I can attest to working to keep me organized. I do all of these things and they keep the household running smoothly. I color code my calendar, keep daily lists, have a separate blogging calendar, make running-to-do lists, multitask (crochet, quilt, or sew while taking car trips), set times for working on the computer and times I do not answer the phone, delegate work to the children, hire people to do some of the work around the house (when I can't with the new baby and Poppa's promotion), and make frozen meals for times when I am not able to cook (I actually froze 4 months of lunches and dinners for our family while I was pregnant with Wheel, so we could eat stress free). 

I usually shrug when someone says,"How?" I wasn't even sure how I did it. But Tate has explained just how to do it. I have several friends that I can recommend this book to that may find lots of ideas on the "How?" that they ask about.

While I found myself nodding in agreement with how to be organized and together, I also found other ideas that spoke to me in this season I am in. Right now, I can't do all of the things that I want to do. And that has been so very frustrating to me. I can't nurse Wheel and get supper ready and review my students' submissions at the same time. I can't clean the dust bunnies and snuggle and write blog posts. I can't go out swimming with Ceesa and Jo-Jo and get supper ready and respond to e-mails.

And that is frustrating to me. 

Flourish has offered suggestions for this time, too. I made a list of the hours I have available, not in a schedule (because Wheel is the schedule), but just listed out. There are 12 hours in a day from when I rise with the babe and then go to bed with him at night. So I looked at what I do in those 12 hours that just can't change right now: 3 hours I spend nursing, 3 hours meal prep for the rest of the family, 1 hour caring for the babies needs (baths, diaper changes, etc.), 3 hours of Wheel's naps, and 1 hour study with God. And so you see I have 1 hour. In that hour, I have to cram anything extra to do with the kids, showering, going to the bathroom, blog posts...You get the idea. No wonder why I've been frustrated. I've been planning so much to do when there is no time to do it in. So it is obvious that some of the things I would normally like to do, must go on a stop doing list.

I don't have to stop the items on my list forever, but just until I have more time to devote to them. I've never written out a stop doing list before, but how freeing for me to put those things down. Then if I find myself stressing over them, I can just say, "No. That is on my stop doing list!"

I am a recovering perfectionist. And I have to keep reminding myself that relationships are really what matter most to me. I am most content sharing my life with my children and Poppa. If I am not careful, I can end up scheduling God and the people He has put right in front of me out of my life. And I'm not willing to borrow time from them to do some of the things that I would normally put on a to-do list. And the interruptions in this season are moments God has put here now, not to be missed. 

One last thing that I am walking away with is coming up with a list of Big Dreams. Really a list of big dreams has been far from my mind. I had a list when I was in my freshman year of college. I have done them. It is time for a new list of dreams and goals to work toward (if not right at this moment) in the future. This is just the season to start thinking about what comes next.

Wishing you homeschool blessings,

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